Boys Varsity Basketball
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Hot-shooting Redbirds too much for Tigers
Scott Marion, firstname.lastname@example.org
Greg Shashack / The Telegraph
Alton’s Donovan Clay shoots over an Edwardsville defender during a Redbirds’ SWC victory last month at Alton High in Godfrey. The teams met again Thursday in Edwardsville with the Redbirds winning again at Lucco-Jackson Gym.
EDWARDSVILLE – The home-court advantage wasn’t enough for the Edwardsville boys basketball team as it remained winless in the Southwestern Conference.
Edwardsville lost 63-39 to Alton on Thursday at Lucco-Jackson Gymnasium. The loss was the seventh in eight games for the Tigers, who dropped to 7-19 overall and 0-10 in league play. The game was originally scheduled for Friday, but was moved up due to the weather forecast.
Alton shot 53 percent (10 of 19) from 3-point range. The Redbirds pulled away in the second half after leading by eight points at halftime.
“When they make 10 3s and hit 50 percent of them, it’s going to be hard to guard them,” Edwardsville coach Dustin Battas said. “They space you really good and they’re fast, so you’ve got to come and help.”
The last winless year for Edwardsville in SWC action was the 1969-70 season, when it went 0-12. The Tigers were 1-11 in the conference during the 1976-77 season and again in 1977-78.
Edwardsville has two more chances to earn a conference win. It will host O’Fallon for Senior Night on Tuesday before wrapping up the regular season on Feb. 22 at Belleville East.
“I watched film from our earlier game against Alton and we’re light years from where we were offensively,” Battas said. “I certainly feel like we’ve improved, but the conference is really good. We’re excited about O’Fallon and Belleville East next week. Our guys are focused on having a chance to beat two conference opponents and then hopefully win our first game of the regional.”
Alton, meanwhile, improved to 18-10 overall and 6-4 in the SWC. The Redbirds bounced back from a 75-61 conference loss at Collinsville on Feb. 8.
“When things are going well, we look pretty good,” said Redbirds coach Eric Smith, whose team beat Edwardsville 61-49 on Jan. 22 at Alton. “We have the ability to put some kids out there that can knock down some shots in stretches. We felt that our length and athleticism would affect their ability to score on the drive. For the most part, our kids did a pretty good job of that.”
With Josh Rivers scoring the first eight points for Alton, the Redbirds led 13-10 after one quarter. Alton had four more 3-pointers in the second half to push its lead to 27-19 at halftime. Junior Randy Butler had three of those treys. Butler led a balanced Alton attack with 12 points, including four 3-pointers.
“Randy hasn’t gotten a ton of playing time, but he came in and did his job,” Smith said. “Everybody is excited about the fact that he made four 3s, but defensively he did some things that we were pretty excited about.”
Edwardsville never got closer than eight points in the second half.
A basket by Izeal Terrell, off a pass from Andrew Jones, gave Alton a 39-23 lead with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. Sophomore Brennan Weller had a game-high 14 points for Edwardsville, with all of them coming in the first half.
Late in the second quarter, Weller twisted his ankle in a collision under the basket. He played the rest of the quarter, but played only two minutes in the second half.
“We ran a lot of stuff for Brennan to get him shots and took advantage of that,” Battas said. “He got a little banged up there, so we had to shut him down in the second half, but he’ll be OK.”
Senior JaylonTuggle added eight points for the Tigers.
Edwardsville 36 percent (15 of 52) from the field, including 13 percent (2 of 17) from 3-point range.
“I thought our guys did a good job to taking what the defense gave us,” Battas said. Jaylon Tuggle was aggressive at time and Malik (Robinson) and Jalil (Roundtree) were also more assertive. I thought we finished shots around the rim.”
Jones, Josh Rivers, Ky’Lun Rivers and Moory Woods scored eight points apiece for Alton while Charles Miller added seven points. The Redbirds shot 55 percent (22 of 40) from the field, including 57 percent (12 of 21) from 3-point range.
“After the first couple minutes when we started being a little more active in our offense, we got some good stuff out of it,” Smith said.
Each team had eight turnovers. Alton returns to action at 7:30 p.m. Saturday with a nonconference game at Taylorville. The Redbirds finish the regular season with a pair of conference home games, Feb. 19 against Belleville West and Feb. 22 against O’Fallon.